• Saturday, 1 December 2018
  • 18:00-19:30

Side Event 3.2: Lessons learned and best practices for the management of tropical peatlands: A South-South dialogue

Wien 1-2

In the spirit of South South cooperation this session will share “Lessons learned and best practices for the management of tropical peatlands: A South-South dialogue”. Linked to the need to advance towards creative land management solutions, these tropical countries will share practical insights into their on-going activities on how they are working toward sustainably managing their tropical peatlands. Their lessons highlight the diversity of socio-economic and climatic contexts as well as varying goals in relation to peatlands conservation, restoration, agricultural production and ecotourism. This session will share the challenges and innovative solutions that different sectors and partners have come to as a compromise between supporting livelihoods, supporting production, and maintaining the ecosystem services provided by these valuable and unique yet fragile ecosystems. Highlighting experiences from Indonesia, Peru and Botswana will shed light on the different angles that governments, private sector, and research institutes currently use to tackle multiple challenges to sustainably managing peatlands in a changing world.

Peatlands are found all over the world, they come in many forms, display many different characteristics and are used in many different ways. Although they only cover a small percent of the global land surface, they contain twice as much carbon as the world’s forests. With a long-recognized presence in boreal ecosystems, tropical peatlands are now gaining momentum not only because their deposits are more extended and deeper than previously thought, but because they are suffering imminent threats.

Peatlands are highly efficient carbon sinks that have been storing dead organic material for the past 15,000 years. Current development activities and climate change are however threatening to release these stored carbon deposits through droughts, drainage, land cover changes, and fire. This release has large consequences not only for climate change (increasing the atmospheric concentration of CO2) but also as a threat to economies and human health in the form of regional haze through fire.

Despite their importance, tropical peatlands are one of the least understood and monitored ecosystems in the tropics. This lack of knowledge must be addressed as peatlands become more accessible through development and in large-scale commodity investments. Historically, throughout many peatland areas, poorly informed policy decisions have created situations resulting in vast land degradation through drainage and fire, which have long-term local and global impacts.

Connected to the Global Peatland Initiative, this session aims to support South-South dialogue and expose current and future challenges and innovative solutions to best manage peatlands for different goals including conservation, restoration, agricultural production, ecotourism from the perspective of livelihood development, economic growth and ecosystem service protection.


  • Mr. Budi S. Wardhana, Deputy Director Planning and Cooperation. Peatland Restoration Agency – Badan Restorasi Gambut Republik Indonesia. National plans and lessons learnt on restoring peat.
  • Mrs. Rezal Kusumaatmadja. Chief Operating Officer. Katingan-Mentaya Project. The role of the private sector in peatland restoration.
  • Mr. Götz Martin. Director of Sustainability of Golden Agri Resources (GAR) – Oil palm. Sinar Mas Group. Indonesia. Best practices for in palm oil production over peat.
  • Mr. Alberto Paniagua. Prior Executive Director of the Peruvian Trust Fund for National Parks and Protected Areas (PROFONANPE). Experiences and lessons learn in managing the Pastaza Marañón peatlands.
  • Mr. Dennis del Castillo. Director of the Forest Management and Environmental Service Program at the Instituto de Investigaciones de la Amazonía Peruana (IIAP). Managing wetlands and peatlands in Peru.
  • Mr. Joseph E. Mbaiwa. Director of the Okavango Research Institute. Eco-tourism in Okavango.
  • Mr. Piotr Wolski. Okavango Research Institute. University of Botswana. Peatland management in Okavango.